3 Thanksgiving Menus

3 Thanksgiving Menus

Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving without certain flavors, or ingredients.  However, sometimes you want to change things up with different options that are not the typical Thanksgiving menu.  Of course nothing is wrong with tradition either.


I wanted to share a few options that you may want to consider in 3 types of Thanksgiving dinners, and of course you can do a mix of all 3 if you like.  I have done all of the leg work in researching options for the nontraditional options, and lets face it you have all of the traditional recipes and menus, after all you ate it last year.

Traditional Thanksgiving Day

  1. Roasted Turkey (simple seasoning of salt, pepper, sage, and poultry seasoning)
  2. Ham
  3. Dressing (Yes dressing, stuffing the bird will not yield enough)
  4. Slow cooked collard greens
  5. Macaroni and Cheese
  6. Candied Yams
  7. Cranberry sauce (canned, after all, it is tradition)
  8. Pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner 2.0 (kicked up)

  1. Deboned Turkey Roulade with stuffing (have your butcher debone the bird)
  2. Corn bread dressing
  3. Roasted sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, acorn squash, and butternut squash (400 deg F 1 inch cubes, spread out no a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt pepper fresh rosemary and drizzle with olive oil)
  4. Green beans (the fancy name is haricot vert, sauté in a pan with garlic, shallots, salt and pepper and a little water to help steam)
  5. Fresh cranberry sauce
  6. Pumpkin cheesecake

Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

  1. Roasted Turkey breast (brined)
  2. Sweet potatoes tossed in agave nectar olive oil
  3. Sautéed kale (with minced garlic, diced onion, and olive oil)
  4. Cranberry relish 
  5. Whole-grain apple cranberry dressing
  6. Pumpkin ginger flan

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be the same thing you always have, but if tradition is what you like, don’t be afraid to throw in a new option.  Your new option might become a new tradition.

Veetee Rice Taste

A few months back I received a very generous sampling from a rice company that I had not ever heard of.  Now full disclosure, I don’t eat a great deal of rice, as I am working on eating healthy, but I do enjoy a fluffy serving of rice every once in a while.  The packages of rice are easy to stack in the panty, and hold two portions each.  I figured as I try the different varieties I will post and share my thoughts with you guys.

Veetee Rice can be found in your local grocery stores, click here and you can find all of the grocery stores that carry the various seasoned varieties.


Because I was on a serious health kick when the rice first arrived at my front door, I tried the Whole Grain Brown Rice & Quinoa.  The instructions say to peel back the plastic seal half way and pop the rice in the oven for 2 minutes.  Once the rice is hot, the instructions tell you to fluff it a bit with a fork.  I paired the rice with some yummy fish and quick steamed baby spinach.


The outcome was a yummy fluffy healthy serving of rice that was perfectly cooked.  If I had one complaint it would be that the film that you have to peel back is super sealed, and difficult to pull back, but I’d rather that happen to guarantee the air tight seal.  I am not the best rice cooker, so this will be my little secret going forward.

Last week I tried the Chicken Flavor Rice.  I took my home made jerk chicken, and a package of the rice to work.  It worked out perfectly, so that I had a full meal with the chicken and rice.  Check the close up of the rice and the seasonings in it.

Veetee rice and jerk chickenNext up, I am going to try a recipe that the Veetee team has shared on their website.  IF you pick up some Veetee rice at your local grocery store, let me know what you think.

FYI, I just made a quick run to the store, and guess what was right next to the quinoa?



Husk Nashville

I recently had one of the best dining experiences on a trip to Nashville Tennessee.  I had such a good time, that I stayed until 9:00PM after arriving at a seat at the bar at 5:30PM.  I will most certainly be doing more dining at the bar when I am solo dining again.

I knew that Husk was booked for the entire evening, so I walked over as early as possible on the chance that I could get a seat at the bar.  Thankfully the bar was empty, so I took a seat and Kenneth (the bartender) introduced himself and the adventure began.

Husk salad

I started with an arugula salad with fire roasted gourds, aged gouda, and benne (which I just found out, is a fancy word for sesame seeds, who knew?)


Husk pig ear slidersHusk Nashville Slider

IMG_2396 (1)

I finished my meal off with a delicious Cinnamon Creme Brulee with Yeast Ice Cream, I know I hadn’t ever heard of it either, and it really tasted like yeast, like an ice cream roll.

The bar was such a great time, I ended up ordering a glass of wine and sampling other items from friends that I made at the bar.  If I ever were to move to Nashville, this would absolutely be my neighborhood spot.  Husk was a great spot for after work craft cocktails and very creative but approachable food.



The Real KFC

A couple of months ago a friend had me over for dinner, and her husband had been insisting that I try this Korean fried chicken chain called Boom Boom Chicken.  The chicken was like no chicken I had ever tasted.  For those of you who have not had Korean Fried Chicken, it is the real KFC, this chicken is like the sweetness of teriyaki and the spice of Thai peppers, with the crispiness of Popeye’s, just saying.  I used the recipe on The Cooking Channel.  I plan to cook this recipe again, and capture some better pictures, so stay tuned.

IMG_2134 IMG_2135 IMG_2151

The recipe includes the sticky spicy sauce and the pickled daikon radish that accompany the chicken at the restaurant.


Quick Fix Pork Chops and Peaches

I was looking for an easy delicious pork chop recipe that wasn’t the typical pork and apples, and remembered I am in Georgia, land of peaches. I stumbled upon this recipe on the Serious Eats siteDSC_0483

Brown pork chops on one side 4-6 minutes


Flip and cook thoroughly DSC_0485

Allow the pork chops to rest while the peach topping is prepared.

DSC_0486Add freshly sliced peaches to the pan that was used to cook the pork chops,


Season the peaches with sugar salt and red pepper flakes.

DSC_0492To plate, add fresh baby spinach leaves to the plate, and top with a pork chop and the sliced peaches,

DSC_0491Use fresh basil and thinly chop the leaves to top the pork chops

Enjoy, I shared this dish with my coworkers at work, and they had great feedback about the freshness of the dish.  They were a bit suspicious about the peaches being paired with the pork chops, but it was a hit after one bite.


Brunching in Chicago

I recently enjoyed a quick weekend in Chicago.  The Windy City is one of my favorite places to visit, it is a great walking town, and the restaurants are amazing.  Previously I shared one of my dinner experiences at Table Fifty-Two, take a look.

This trip, however, focused on brunching in Chicago even more than usual.  Chicago is a serious brunch town and all residents take brunch very seriously.

The first brunch stop started with Bongo Room


One of their meat free options was a croissant breakfast sandwich, with various veggies egg and avocado. The home fries are excellent as well

IMG_2008The Meyer lemon blueberry pancakes were amazing, and don’t judge me, but I ate every bit of those pancakes too.

We even did brunch at the famous Lou Malnati’s, I know this isn’t known as a brunch location, but it was our first meal of the day so it was brunch to us.


We started with the Stuffed Spinach Bread.  It came out with the cheese oozing

IMG_2097 IMG_2100

And once we sliced it…

And finally, the pizza.  We just had a cheese pie, but don’t try to eat more than to slices of this world famous deep dish pizza.
The final go to brunch spot is a no frills real deal brunch location, I mean brunch hours and all.  Sweet Maple Cafe, is no fuss, no gimmicks just true and delicious food.  The pancakes are great, with quality ingredients and attentive service.  The Sweet Milk Biscuits, can not be denied, they didn’t even make the photos, they are so good.  Sweet Maple serves grits the right way as well, creamy and seasoned perfectly.   Take a trip to Chicago, but bring your appetite… and some tupperware.



Sweet Maple Cafe’s deliciously fluffy pancakes


Rachael Ray Culinary Tuition Competition Winner Update

I got a chance to support the winner of the Rachael Ray Culinary Tuition Competition that I took part in a few months ago, recently.  It was so great to see Rachel Green in her element.  The room was nicely decorated and we all came together to raise money for her temporary move to NYC for culinary school at The International Culinary Center.

Set Pic 1DSC_0503DSC_0497

Rachel had a very nice turn out to support her, and enjoy a lovely dinner.DSC_0502 The place settings were lovely, we each had a canvas for the “Dine and Design” themed event.

DSC_0504 Rachel planned silent auction for art and a few of her gifts from The Rachael Ray Show

DSC_0500Rachel served these deviled eggs that were sinful.  I have to get the recipe.
IMG_1880We started with Rachel’s asparagus potato soup that she made in the competition, it was very tasty.  She shared with the diners that the show was her first time cooking with asparagus.

DSC_0507 We got to sample Rachel’s fried chicken in this salad.  The salad had a delicious vinaigrette. 
DSC_0511 Rachel mad a perfectly consistent grit dish with bacon and green onions and gravy.  I was impressed that because she was not pleased with the cook on the shrimp, that she refused to serve that portion of the dish.

IMG_1892 I was quite pleased with my art piece, I think it will be in a frame very soon

IMG_1891 Thank you again Rachel for allowing me to participate in this awesome journey that you are embarking on.  I can’t wait to come behind you and see where this exciting opportunity takes you.  If you are in the neighborhood, try to attend Rachel’s next “Dine and Design” event, visit her site and get your tickets now.

Mexican Quinoa

I have been on Pinterest searching for healthy recipes that are quick and delicious, and I stumbled upon damndelicious.net‘s Mexican Quinoa.  The reason I enjoyed it is of course because it is tasty, but also because it is quick and easy.  I added more seasoning to my version of the recipe.  I just discovered this site, and I will certainly be revisiting it.


Mexican Quinoa

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 jalapeno (minced)

1 cup quinoa

1 cup frozen or fresh corn

1 cup of vegetable broth

1 can fire roasted tomatoes

1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)

1 tablespoon chili powder

1/2 tablespoon cumin

the juice of 1 lime

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

salt and pepper to taste

Cook the garlic and jalapeño in the olive oil until soft.  Add the corn, black beans, quinoa, broth, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper, and cover for about 20 minutes

Food doesn’t always have to be fancy and complex, but for me, it always has to be enjoyed. So please enjoy and let me know what you think.


Culinary Institute of America

I fulfilled a dream that I didn’t even know I had.  I didn’t know what to expect when I planned a last minute trip to Hyde Park, NY with my foodie bestie.  I just knew it would be a trip that would help define my path.  We planned to visit the restaurant named after one of the most prolific French chefs of all times, Chef Paul Bocuse The Bocuse Restaurant.  Though this was not our first choice, of the Culinary Institute of America’s restaurants, I am so glad we went.IMG_1414The school campus was so gorgeous and inviting.  If that day occurred maybe 5 years ago, I would have scheduled a full tour and enrolled in the degree program that Saturday afternoon.IMG_1417IMG_1419Team greedy was in full form.  We ordered about 3 appetizers, an entree each and a dessert each, and we were not disappointed, in fact we were beside our selves with excitement. 

IMG_1421Seared Pork Belly with Pickled Watermelon, Farro Salad, Corn Purée, and Pork Vinaigrette

IMG_1422Sweetbread Roulade with Morels, Jambon, and Truffle sauce

IMG_1423Roasted Saddle of Lamb with Artichokes, Braised Spring Greens and a Potato Terrine

IMG_1424Modernist Lemon Bar with Crème Fraîche Cake, Lemon Curd, Coconut Ice Cream, and Tamarind SauceIMG_1426 IMG_1427The meal was amazing followed up by a tour of the kitchen by our fabulous server (no photos, chef was not in the mood).  Natalia, our server from Colombia allowed us to ask her all sorts of questions about her educational experience at the CIA. She shared with us how she came to the school planning to cook, and fell in love with the front of the house.    I highly suggest you take a day trip from the tourist trap the New York City can often be, and visit The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY.  You can learn to cook in one of the bootcamps (I will be doing that soon for sure), or you can also visit one of their several restaurants on campus that are top of the line.  The students are running all parts of the show, from the kitchen to the front of the house.  We had a blast walking the halls and talking to students.  I can’t wait to go back.

Fried Chicken Rookie

I decided to take on the challenge of frying chicken.  I call it a challenge because I have always worried about burnt on the outside and raw on the inside fried chicken.  But when I didn’t win the Rachael Ray Tuition Competition this past May, and the winner cooked fried chicken that Chef Pepín truly enjoyed, I knew either I was doing some research and facing my fears, or I was asking Rachel Green the winner of the competition to teach me.  I decided to see if I could do it on my own first.  I watched several videos and talked to people more experienced with frying and came up with the following process.


I started with a good mixture of buttermilk and hot sauce.IMG_1310Once the chicken was removed from the buttermilk I seasoned the chicken with salt, onion powder, garlic powder and chipotle pepper.  I seasoned the flour with the same seasonings as the chicken and coated the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour…TWICE, super crispy.

IMG_1324IMG_1325 The vegetable oil temperature was heated to 350 deg.

IMG_1328I dropped the pieces of chicken in the oil and let them cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes.IMG_1331IMG_1332
IMG_1347I have fried chicken a couple of times now, and my family enjoyed it.  I even fried some for my guy and his friend said “this chicken doesn’t even need hot sauce, it is perfect”.  I gotta say, this chicken is so good, but I have other plans to elevate the flavor even more, and add a bit more spice and sweet.  Stay tuned.